Central sensitisation is associated
with chronic pain in whiplash patients.
Predicting which patients will develop
central sensitisation is difficult but patient
expectations of recovery predict a variety
of outcomes in whiplash patients.
Ninety-one whiplash patients were
assessed within 1 week of their collision
in order to ascertain their expectations
of recovery and were then re-examined
3 months later with the Brachial Plexus
Provocation Test (BPPT) as a sign of
Adjusting for a number of predictors,
patient expectation of recovery was
found to predict the results of the BPPT.
Subjects who expected ‘to get better
soon’ had a BPPT angle that was
42 degrees less (ie. closer to normal or
full range) than any of the subjects who
had poor recovery expectations.
Whiplash patients who expect ‘never to
get better’ or ‘don’t know’ have a much
higher likelihood of developing at least
one sign of central sensitisation
3 months after their collision.
Central sensitisation has been associated with chronic pain in whiplash patients, although the extent to which it is a result or a cause of chronic pain (or both) has not been fully elucidated.1 If prevention of central sensitisation is to be a goal of acute therapy in whiplash patients, as has been suggested,1 it would be helpful to have predictors of central sensitisation that could be used in the primary care setting, ideally without resorting to lengthy questionnaires, so that patients most at risk could be identified early and provided with appropriate treatments.
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